The entire second chapter of 2 Peter deals with false teachers and their destruction. His point of view is summarized in the final sentence in which he writes, “A dog returns to its vomit” and a sow “to her wallowing in the mud.” It’s clear that he has little use for those who would lead others astray. Returning to the first verse of the chapter Peter reminds us that (1) “There were” and “there will be” false teachers in their midst, and (2) They will “bring swift destruction on themselves.”
Heresy will always be with us. It is inevitable. Always has been. In the primeval Garden of Eden Satan became the first theological heretic. He suggested to Eve that God had denied them access to the tree and its fruit for reasons other than he had given. Tricky! And what began with the first couple continues today – the suggestion that God didn’t really mean what he said so let me tell you what is right. From this basic perspective there is no end to the heresies that can suddenly appear. The voice of error whispers in the ear, “ God didn’t mean what he said; science, you know, has proven the bible can’t be trusted; God exists only because we need some sort of psychological prop.” Attempts to twist biblical truth will continue until the end of time. It’s a was/is/will be reality of life.
The other point is those who insist on twisting the clear teaching of scripture will self-destruct; they will “bring swift destruction on themselves.” While Peter is speaking of a fate yet future, the insight is relevant to the present as well. There is a real sense in which all departure from truth destroys the heretic himself. Often God punishes by simply stepping away. Paul teaches that God “gives them over” (the wicked, that is) to the result of their own sinful acts (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28). It so happens that God’s way is not just what God desires but is also the way that is best for us. To act contrary to the will of God is to intentionally afflict harm on oneself. In World War II my brother was an underwater demolition expert. He laid mines around battleships that were bombarding some target. A hospital ship needing to get to shore would be given a map showing the explicit location of each mine so it could safely navigate to its destination. So it is with the “laws” of God. Their purpose is not to please God, although they do, but to show us how to make it safely through without stepping on the “mines” that clutter our life. If we choose to ignore the map and go it on our own, chances are we will step on one and suffer the penalty. It is the self-destructive nature of sin.